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CMB Conference Recap: ARF Re!Think16

Posted by Julie Kurd

Thu, Mar 17, 2016

Re-Think-2016.jpgRon Amram of Heineken uttered the three words that sum up my ARF #ReThink16 experience: science, storytelling, and seconds. Let’s recap some of the most energizing insights: 

  • Science: Using Data to Generate Insights
    • AT&T Mobility’s Greg Pharo talked about how AT&T measures the impact of mass and digital advertising. They start with a regression and integrate marketing variables (media weight, impressions, GRPs, brand and message recall, WoM, etc.) as well as information on major product launches, distribution, and competitive data, topped off with macroeconomic data and internal operational data such as quality (network functioning, etc.).
    • GfK’s voice analytics research actually records respondents’ voices and captures voice inflection, which predicts new idea or new product success by asking a simple question: “What do you think about this product and why?” They explore sentiment by analyzing respondents’ speech for passion, activation, and whether they’d purchase. I had to ask a question: since I have a sunny and positive personality, wouldn’t my voice always sound to a machine as though I like every product? Evidently, no. They establish each individual respondent’s baseline and measure the change.  
    • Nielsen talked about its new 40 ad normative benchmark (increasing soon to 75) and how it uses a multi-method approach—a mix of medical grade EEG, eye tracking, facial coding, biometrics, and self-reporting—to get a full view of reactions to advertising. 
  • Storytelling: Using Creative That’s Personal
    • Doug Ziewacz (Head of North America Digital Media and Advertising for Under Armour Connected Fitness) spoke about the ecosystem of connected health and fitness. It’s not enough to just receive a notification that you’ve hit your 10,000 steps—many people are looking for community and rewards.
    • Tell your story. I saw several presentations that covered how companies ensure that potential purchasers view a product’s advertising and how companies are driving interest from target audiences.
      • Heineken, for example, knows that 50% of its 21-34 year-old male target don’t even drink beer, so they focus on telling stories to the other 50%. The company’s research shows that most male beer drinkers are sort of loyal to a dozen beer brands, with different preferences for different occasions. Ron Amram (VP of Media at Heineken) talked about the need to activate people with their beer for the right occasion. 
      • Manvir Kalsi, Senior Manager of Innovation Process and Research at Samsung, said that Samsung spends ~$3B in advertising globally. With such a large footprint, they often end up adding impressions for people who will never be interested in the product. Now, the company focuses on reaching entrenched Apple consumers with messages (such as long battery life) that might not resonate with Samsung loyalists but will hit Apple users hard and give those Apple users reasons to believe in Samsung. 
  • Seconds: Be Responsive Enough to Influence the Purchase Decision Funnel
    • Nathalie Bordes from ESPN talked about sub-second ad exposure effectiveness. She spoke frankly about how exposure time is no longer the most meaningful part of ad recall for mobile scrolling or static environments. In fact, 36% of audience recalled an ad with only half a second of exposure. There was 59% recall in 1 second and 78% recall in 2 seconds. Point being, every time we have to wait 4 or 5 seconds before clicking “skip ad” on YouTube, our brains really are taking in those ads.
    • Laura Bernstein from Symphony Advanced Media discussed the evolution of Millennials’ video viewing habits. Symphony is using measurement technology among its panel of 15,000 viewers who simply install an app and then keep their phones charged and near them, allowing the app to passively collect cross-platform data. A great example of leveraging the right tech for the right audience.

How does your company use science and storytelling to drive business growth?

Want to know more about Millennials' attitudes and behaviors toward banking and finance? Download our new Consumer Pulse report here!

Topics: storytelling, marketing science, advertising, data integration, conference recap

Brands Enter the Fight Against Holiday Shopping Creep

Posted by Becky Schaefer

Mon, Nov 23, 2015

While Black Friday marks the unofficial start of the holiday season for U.S. retailers, visions of sugar plums dance in retailers’ heads (and on their shelves) well before Halloween. The so-called “Black Friday Creep” in which sales and decorations start on or before Thanksgiving, has gotten a lot of press. Remember this Kmart ad from SEPTEMBER?!

The backlash was inevitable—too many news stories about workers forced to forgo their Thanksgiving dinners and deal-seekers trampled over new flat-screen TVs. In reaction, several high profile retailers are taking a stand against staying open on Thanksgiving. Nordstrom’s gotten great press for continuing its tradition of closing all 118 locations in the U.S. on Thanksgiving Day and reopening on Black Friday. Fun fact: this is not the only “creep” that Nordstrom avoids—it also avoids the “Christmas creep,” a trend in which retailers start decorating for Christmas before Thanksgiving even happens. Nordstrom believes in “celebrating one holiday at a time,” and does not decorate for Christmas until Black Friday.

Here’s my favorite example of a company combatting the creep—equipment company REI recently announced that it will not only close on Thanksgiving, but also remain closed on Black Friday. The brand has taken this unusual move and used it as a branding opportunity as part of a new campaign called “Opt Outside” (#optoutside). REI encourages both employees (who will be paid for the day) and customers to skip the mall and spend Black Friday enjoying the outdoors instead of shopping. Over 800,000 people have already committed to Opt Outside this Black Friday, and you can choose to join directly on REI’s website. It’s a brilliant idea, and it works because it’s consistent with REI’s brand promise and its customers’ values.

What are your Black Friday plans? Are you planning on spending your Black Friday racking up holiday deals? Or are you going to Opt Outside with REI? Let us know in the comments!

Rebecca is part of the field services team at CMB, and she is excited to celebrate her favorite time of year with her family and friends.  

Topics: advertising, marketing strategy, brand health and positioning, retail research

Brands Get in a Frenzy Over Shark Week

Posted by Athena Rodriguez

Wed, Aug 19, 2015

Summer brings many joys—BBQ’s, the beach, and one of my favorite holidays. . .I’m referring, of course, to Shark Week. For over 25 years, the Discovery Channel has loaded as much shark-related content as possible into a 7-day period, including TV programming, online content, and social media frenzies by both the network and other “official” (and non-official) partners.While some of these partnerships are no-brainers (e.g., Oceana, National Aquarium, and Sea Save Foundation), other less obvious partners such as Dunkin Donuts, Cold Stone Creamery, and Southwest Airlines, must get creative with their marketing to connect their brands to “the most wonderful week of the year.” Southwest, for example, offered flyers the chance to watch new content via a special Shark Week channel and to enter a sweepstakes for a chance to swim with sharks. Both Cold Stone Creamery and Dunkin Donuts debuted special treats (“Shark Week Frenzy”—blue ice cream with gummy sharks—and a lifesaver donut, respectively).

brand engagement, shark week, television

But it didn’t stop there—brands on social media found ways to tie in products to Shark Week in every way possible. Just take a look at these posts from Claire’s, Salesforce, and Red Bull.

shark week, brand engagement, television

So, what’s in it for these brands? Why go out of their way to connect themselves to something like Shark Week, which is seemingly unrelated to their services and products? It’s as simple as the concept of brand associations. Since brand associations work to form deeper bonds with customers, brands are often on the lookout for opportunities that will boost their standing with customers. Shark Week attracts millions of viewers each night, and since it’s one of the few true television events that remains, it presents the perfect opportunity for brands to engage with customers in a way they don’t often get to do. Furthermore, it demonstrates that these brands are in tune with what their customers like and what’s happening in the pop culture world. And, judging by the amount of interactions brands received from consumers, I’d say it worked.

If you missed the fun of Shark Week last month (the horror!) or just want more, don’t worry—Shweekend is just around the corner (August 29th), and I’ll be anticipating what brands can come up with this time. . .

Athena Rodriguez is a Project Consultant at CMB, and she is a certified fin fanatic. 

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Topics: advertising, marketing strategy, social media, television, brand health and positioning, digital media and entertainment research

The Early Bird Gets the...Black Friday Sales Dip?

Posted by Will Buxton

Thu, Dec 11, 2014

iStock 000030486308XXXLarge resized 600

I like to call myself a Holiday Champion. I like to think that I enjoy the Holiday Season more than most people, and I’m definitely one of those people who is more jovial in December than any other time of year. You can probably contribute my enjoyment to one of the following:A) The Holiday Season’s reliable signaled start (post-Thanksgiving) and finish (New Year’s).

B) The result of having a December birthday (please send all birthday presents to CMB).

C) I love the snow and the association it has with the Holidays.

D) My appreciation of all the rituals and traditions accompanying the Holiday Season.

E) All of the above

I believe it is E) All of the above, but it’s likely that some factors are more influential than others. Because I’m so appreciative of this time of year, I find myself hyper-sensitive to the events surrounding the Holiday Season. Here’s another fun fact about me: I like structure. Things around the Holidays are supposed to happen in a certain order. For example, Thanksgiving comes before Christmas and Christmas comes before New Year’s. However, more and more often, humans and even nature keep messing up the order of Holiday Season events . . .  and I’m starting to worry about the long-lasting consequences.

A few examples:

  • In 2011, New England received a considerable snowstorm just before Halloween, and despite my love for snow, it felt too soon.
  • This year, there were faux Christmas trees for sale at my local wholesale club the day after Halloween. Too soon.
  • Also this year, Kmart unofficially released the first Christmas shopping commercial on September 5th. TOO SOON.

In years past, I thought that my displeasure with these “too soon events” was because I had my own preference for what the order of the Holiday Season should be. However, it seems that this year, other Holiday Champions are sharing in my disapproval. This year also marked some of the earliest “start” times for Black Friday (is it still Black Friday if it starts on Thursday?) with stores opening at mid-afternoon on Thanksgiving Day. This list includes Old Navy (4pm), Best Buy (5pm), and Walmart (6pm). All of this must mean that spending is through the roof, right?

As you may have read by now, initial reports show that total spending on Black Friday was down 11% overall from last year. Some speculate that Black Friday numbers have dropped because of the lingering effects of the most recent recession and the increase of shopping on Cyber Monday. However, consumer confidence has been rising the past few years and holiday sales figures rise steadily every year.

Much of the advertising leading up to Black Friday this year focused on the time at which a particular store would be opening or the level of discount on particular products. Personally, what I felt was largely lacking from a lot of advertisements was the creation of a need or want for the consumer so that he/she would care about these start times and deals. I need a reason to keep track of what stores open at what times and where the best deals can be found. Is it possible that one of the contributing factors to the drop in sales for this year’s Black Friday was these misdirected marketing campaigns? Or is it that the frequency of messages and advertising extremely early doesn’t have as much of an impact on customers as we are meant to believe?

One of the ways Chadwick Martin Bailey helps our clients avoid communicating information and messages that don’t resonate with their audiences is through techniques such as Key Driver Analysis, Maximum Difference Scaling, Latent Class Segmentation, Discrete Choice Modeling, and TURF (Total Unduplicated Reach and Frequency) Analyses. In combination with 30 years of experience, each of these tools affords CMB the flexibility to tailor the right questionnaire design for each client, market, customer, and product. By utilizing the right analysis, CMB is able to see beyond self-reported tendencies or likelihoods and through to the emotional drivers or motivations that trigger consumers to behave in particular ways.

Given the knowledge and capabilities of Chadwick Martin Bailey, I can only hope that one day I will see a commercial for my favorite store that goes something like this…

“Happy upcoming birthday, Will! Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it looks like it is going to snow just enough for snowballs but not so much that you’ll have to shovel the driveway! So how about you put up all your seasonal decorations, and then come into [insert store here] and buy that hover-board or teleportation machine you’ve been wanting this year!”

Will Buxton is a Project Manager on the Financial Services Team at Chadwick Martin Bailey. When not complaining about having a birthday right before Christmas, Will enjoys long drives on short golf courses and riding in party buses in Chicago.

Want to help us craft the future of messaging and market research? Join our team!

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Topics: advertising, marketing strategy, retail research

The Origins of Marketing Research

Posted by Matt Skobe

Thu, Nov 13, 2014

cmb, marketing researchHave you ever considered the origins of marketing research? Recently I’ve been pondering this. Some professions, such as construction, have been in existence since the dawn of civilization, meeting the basic human need of shelter. The (relatively) recent rise of the computer programmer marks its starting point in the early 1980s with the advent of the personal computer. But what about market research?I did some digging in order to answer my question, which led me to a book entitled A New Brand of Business: Charles Coolidge Parlin, Curtis Publishing Company, and the Origins of Market Research by Douglas Ward. This book focuses on Charles Coolidge Parlin (1872-1942), who is recognized today as the “Father of Marketing Research.” Parlin worked for Curtis Publishing Company, which was one of the most successful and influential American publishing companies of the early 20th century.

The pivotal moment for creating formalized marketing research was when Curtis Publishing made a principle-driven choice to ban medical, cosmetic, financial, and cigarette advertisements—and thus their accompanying revenue—from its magazines. To make up for this lost revenue, the company adopted a smarter business approach that focused only on the company’s existing clients, which would allow Curtis Publishing to become experts in its clients’ businesses. This novel idea went as follows: if Curtis Publishing could better serve its clients, those clients could in turn benefit Curtis Publishing with increased advertising revenue. In order to do this, the company sought to learn as much as possible about each client’s profit margins, territories, possibilities for expansion, and competition. In short, Curtis Publishing needed a clear view of each client’s marketplace.

With this impetus, Curtis Publishing created the Division of Commercial Research (1911) right here in Boston in what was formally known as Pemberton Square and is now known as Government Center. This was the first marketing research organization in the United States. The company had the notion to move forward on logical and statistical rule rather than intuition, and it strived to gauge public sentiment, evaluate changes in consumer tastes, and turn consumer wants into corporate profits. This newly founded “market research” would eventually become "the rudder on the ship of modern corporate capitalism.”

Parlin’s studies at Curtis Publishing led him to remarkable conclusions that were not readily apparent otherwise. For instance, Parlin calculated the strong influence that women had over family automobile purchases and foresaw that the automobile industry needed to reduce the number of models offered. Insights such as these eventually led to increased—and smarter—advertising as companies attempted to stay ahead of the curve.          

Interestingly, marketing research has the same purpose today as it did back then—it provides a way to improve marketing and business decision making. Parlin’s studies were typically hundreds of pages long with hand drawn charts, maps, and graphs bound in black or red leather with gold embossed lettering, and while we might do things a little differently now, we still need to create an informative narrative backed with charts and graphs aimed at getting to the heart of business decision making. Ever increasing amounts of information are available today, but distilling the most interesting and the most useful facts remains the ultimate challenge. I think Charles Parlin would agree, don’t you?

Matt Skobe is a Senior Data Manager at CMB. His passions include spending time with his wife and kids and mountain biking (day and night).

Want to help us craft the future of market research? Join our team!

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Topics: business decisions, consumer insights, advertising

Tablet Purchase Journey Relies Heavily on Mobile Web

Posted by Chris Neal

Thu, Oct 16, 2014

consumer pulse, tabletsWe all know the consumer purchase journey has changed dramatically since the “mobile web” explosion and continues to evolve rapidly. In order to understand the current state of this evolving journey, CMB surveyed 2,000 recent buyers of tablets in the U.S. We confirmed several things that we expected to see, but we also busted a few myths along the way: 

1. TRUE: “Online media and advertising are now essential to influence consumers.”

  • Reading about tablets online and online advertisements are the top ways in which consumers learn about new brands or products. [Tweet this.]
  • Nearly everyone we surveyed does some type of research and evaluation online before buying—most commonly using online-only shopping sites (e.g., Amazon, eBay, etc.), general web searches, consumer electronics store websites, review websites (e.g., CNET, Engadget, etc.), or tablet manufacturer websites.

2. TRUE: “The mobile web is becoming more important in the consumer purchase journey.”

  • Over half of buyers use the mobile web during the research and evaluation phase, and nearly 40% of buyers do so as a part of the final purchase decision (although very few people actually purchase a tablet using a mobile device). [Tweet this.]

3. FALSE: Mobile applications are becoming very important in the consumer purchase journey.”

  • Although the mobile web is now highly influential, very little purchase journey activity actually happens from within a mobile application per se. This could be because tablet purchasing isn’t something that happens frequently for more individual consumers (high-frequency activities lend themselves better to a dedicated app to expedite and track them). [Tweet this.]

4. FALSE: “Social Media is becoming very important in the consumer purchase journey.”

  • The purchase journey for tablets is indeed very “social” (i.e., word-of-mouth and consumer reviews are hugely influential), but precious little of this socialization actually happens on social media platforms in the case of U.S. tablet buyers. [Tweet this.]

5. FALSE: “The Brick and Mortar Retail Store is Dead.”

  • The rise of all things online does not spell the death of brick and mortar retail in the consumer electronics category. In-store experiences (including speaking with retail sales associated and doing hands-on demos of tablets) were one of the top sources of influence during the research and evaluation phase, regardless of whether they ultimately bought their tablet in a physical store. 
  • Next to ads, in-store experiences were the top source of awareness for new tablet brands and models. 41% of those who learned about new makes/models during the process did so inside of a physical retail store. [Tweet this.]
  • Half of all buyers surveyed actually bought their tablet in a physical retail store. [Tweet this.]

6. TRUE: The line between “online” and “offline” purchase journeys is becoming blurred.

  • Most people use both online and offline sources during their purchase journey, and they typically influence one another. People doing research online may discover that a tablet model they are interested in is on sale at a particular retailer. At the same time, something a retail sales associate recommends to a shopper in a store may spur an online search in order to read other consumer reviews and see where they can get the recommended model the cheapest and fastest. Smartphone-based activities from within a retail store are just as common as interacting with an actual salesperson face-to-face at this point. 

The mobile web is undoubtedly here to stay, and how consumers go about making various different buying decisions will continue to evolve along with future changes in the mobile web. Here at CMB, we will continue to help companies and brands adapt to these shifts.

Download the full report. 

For more on our mobile stitching methodology, please see CMB's Chris Neal's webinar with Research Now: Watch the Webinar

Chris leads CMB’s Tech Practice. He enjoys spending time with his two kids and rock climbing.

Topics: technology research, mobile, path to purchase, advertising, Consumer Pulse, passive data, retail research, customer journey

Sponsorship Advertising: Odd Couples That May Succeed

Posted by Kate Zilla-Ba

Wed, May 28, 2014

advertising sponsorships

We are constantly talking with companies about how their positive and desired brand messages—from all possible sources—need to match up with the experience their customers have when interacting with them.  Our approach to brand tracking is based on the premise that movement along the customer journey is driven by customers’ perceptions and is informed by what is promised as well as what is delivered. However, some experiences are obviously more in the control of the company than others. And one place where a company can really have impact is via sponsorships in advertising—and some of these partnerships aren’t always as straightforward as beer and football.We’ve all seen unusual pairings.  One recent example is Meb Keflezighi, the 2014 men’s Boston Marathon winner, who is now sponsored by Skechers.  This has drawn some attention as Skechers has not historically been a brand associated with running—much less elite running.  In fact, some might associate Skechers as more of a soccer mom brand. (Remember those rocking walking shoes from a few years back?)  But this new partnership certainly has the makings of a game changer for their “GoRun” line now that Keflezighi has catapulted them onto this new scene.

Here’s another seemingly odd-ball combination that is hitting the stage this summer.  The Colorado Symphony has a three show concert series coming up sponsored by the cannabis industry (which was recently made legal there for recreational use).  They already have numerous concerts that look to be targeting a younger demographic, such as a Harry Potter themed concert and their “Beethoven and Brews” series. This new concert series called “Classically Cannabis” appears to be just another attempt to draw in a new audience while keeping their art alive and kicking (not to mention that the cannabis industry has increasingly deep pockets).  It has certainly drawn media attention, and their online explanations via an FAQ are thoughtfully done, regardless of your stance on this issue. 

But what does this new series do to the Colorado Symphony as a brand as it currently exists? Presumably, they have researched whether or not this will cause damage to their brand image by alienating loyal customers, and moreover, whether this will in fact be appreciated by those loyal listeners as well as expand their existing audience with new listeners. 

Let’s shift to the world of high fashion. Fashion Week has both some expected and perhaps unusual sponsors.   Mercedes—check.  Office Max—huh?  Apparently, the latter had some “fashionable office supplies” to put out on the runway.  According to reports of those who work with Fashion Week sponsors, those brands do need to have a relevant story to tell, which in this case may well be true.   Understanding the impact or ROI of an ad sponsorship can be tricky, but should always happen and be taken into consideration.

There’s also outer space—the final frontier.  We’ve probably all seen or heard about the private rocket companies (e.g., SpaceX) that are building and sending people or satellites up into the nether sphere.  But one of the most outlandish companies may be Mars One, a non-profit company with plans to “establish a permanent human settlement on Mars.”  This venture is to be funded through crowd-sourcing, TV rights, and sponsorships. 

The plan is to launch teams of four on a one-way ticket to a pre-established mission, which will begin to be set up in the next few years with the first manned launch currently planned for 2024.  So we could see Pepsi on Mars, although most sponsors thus far are technology firms.  Taking the hypothetical (at the moment) notion of cola on Mars:  what does that potentially do for the brand sponsor?  Perhaps it could be a way to reinvigorate their brand with a sense of adventure or a way to evoke emotions of excitement.  

How about Mars candy on Mars?  Of course, I am not the first to make this connection.  Though I strongly suspect that the rockets sent out on that journey will be stocked up with water and nutrient-rich supplies instead of candy bars—or so I hope for those brave enough (some may say stupid enough—but they probably said the same of Columbus or his fellow “explorers” once upon a time) to sign up.  Apparently, there have been many to volunteer—upwards of 200k of which 700 or so are still in the running. 

It will be fascinating to see what unexpected brands might sponsor Mars One over time.  However, once arrived on the red planet, there’s no guarantee that the participants will keep the cameras on and the sponsored items in view.  Now there’s a risky proposition. 

Maybe Mars One could look to the example of the Colorado Symphony if they really wanted something unusual.   And, if they want CMB to measure the degree to which that is compatible with their overall strategy and goals—BEAM ME UP!  

Kate is a Project Director, working with clients across many industries at CMB. She has been known to perform in local musical theater here and there, speaks three languages well and a few others passably, and would never sign up for a Mars mission. 

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Topics: advertising, marketing strategy, brand health and positioning

Diet Pepsi Gives (and Gets) Some Love on Valentine's Day in Boston

Posted by Athena Rodriguez

Fri, Feb 15, 2013

By Athena Rodriguez

CMB fun fact: our little street in Boston has enjoyed a few moments on the silver screen, perhaps you've seen the great moment in cinematic history known as Bride Wars, or maybe Surrogates starring Bruce Willis as a cop from the future, filmed in our lobby no less. I know, as if market research wasn't glamorous enough! All this to say we’re kind of used to strange goings on outside 179 South Street, so I wasn’t initially interested in the guy, standing in a pick-up truck outside the office, handing out cans of Diet Pepsi, I’m usually a Diet Coke drinker* anyway. However, as a marketer I have a soft spot for a good campaign and I’m not too proud to turn down a free soda.

Diet Pepsi VdaySo what’s blog-worthy about free soda? Two deceptively simple things stand out. First, there were some very cute details—the Pepsi logos were heart-shaped in honor of Valentine’s Day—pretty adorable. The whole website was done up for Valentine’s Day and there was also a contest to tweet about what you love, it was a perfect and simple tie-in with the brand and a chance to win something. Lesson: promotions don’t need to be too complicated to be really appealing.

Along with the can of soda, they handed out coupons for a free 2 liter bottle, as well as a Boston-specific flyer with little allusions to the Red Sox, Patriot’s Day, Newbury Street, the Charles, and the North End, all stuff that's very appealing to locals (and those of us who’ve been here awhile). Lesson: it's tough to lose when you're appealing to hometown pride. Just make sure it's not written by someone who's only seen your town on Google Maps.

And if all else failed, they really couldn’t go wrong with the life-sized Sofia Vergara cut out available for a photo opportunity.

Diet Pepsi VDAY

*Note, I make an exception for Wild Cherry Diet Pepsi which beats both Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi by a mile.

Athena is a Project Director at CMB, she's only just forgiven Pepsico for pulling Crystal Pepsi off the shelves.

Topics: advertising, marketing strategy, customer experience and loyalty, retail research

CW's Revenge: Ads that Tell a Story Hit Their Target

Posted by Athena Rodriguez and Caitlin Dailey

Wed, Nov 28, 2012

From the giant cups of Coca-Cola featured on every America Idol, to the two and half hour GM car commercial Michael Bay called Transformers, product placement can provoke a lot of eye-rolling.  There’s something so inauthentic about it, and really if something looked inauthentic in Transformers, that’s saying something. And behold Stephen Colbert, reading a memo from sponsor Wheat Thins, detailing how he could incorporate the crackers into his show:

Yes it can be bad, really bad.

However, we are forced to admit to enjoying how Niemen Marcus and Target promoted their joint holiday collection during the November 11th episode of our guilty viewing pleasure—Revenge. The retailers were the only sponsors for the whole show and the long-form commercials were in effect a “story within a story,” featuring the show’s actors. In each spot a character was sent a fancy piece of clothing and told to meet at a secluded location revealed in the last ad, and both of us watched each and every one.

So, why did two people, with DVRs and a dislike of product placement, sit through what amounted to roughly ten whole minutes of commercials?

  • Athena says: The ads really looked like part of the show. I didn’t speed through them because at first I wasn’t sure they were commercials at all. Making the ads so seamless clearly took a lot of effort; the retailers partnered with the show’s writers and designers and it really showed in how the ads were staged and shot.

  • Caitlin says: Because I’m already invested in the characters on the show it wasn’t a stretch to watch the commercials. The character, Nolan, who turns out to have sent the gifts, is a millionaire, but very young, quirky and a nice guy. The rich but accessible angle fit perfectly with the Neiman/Target partnership.

target revenge ad 2And we both agreed they did a great job focusing on the items from the collection. The tissue paper in the boxes had the logos, and the clothes looked like clothing the characters would really wear, especially the Lela Rose dress worn by Charlotte.

Ultimately the ads worked because they told a story, both of us genuinely wanted to know how the story ended, and after the show Athena Googled the collection to take a closer look. Now that we have so many ways to avoid ads, it takes something special to make people stop, watch, and maybe as Target and Niemen’s hope, even buy something.

Athena is Team Director for CMB’s Financial Services practice. Caitlin Dailey is a Senior Associate Researcher on our Retail practice. They’re both looking forward to shopping the collection, which debuts on December 1st and finding out if Jack and “Amanda” make it through the holidays.

Topics: advertising, television, digital media and entertainment research

Want to Be Like Tom Cruise? How Tech is Changing Local Advertising

Posted by Kirsten Rasmuson

Wed, Jun 06, 2012

CMB Tom CruiseThe day that we all become as tech-savvy and suave as Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible is fast approaching.  How do I know?  A few years after a Cruise movie is on the big screen, his cool gadgets are for sale in a store near you.  Don’t believe me?  Just watch any 24-hour cable news show and you will see that they are all using the same multi-touch wall display that Tom Cruise first popularized in the movie, Minority Report.

Now, Google is saying that we can be just like Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible with the release of his iconic sunglasses that project information onto the lens.  Can you imagine it? You could be walking around New York City with turn by turn navigation, getting information on local restaurants, activities, even places your friends have recently checked in on Foursquare or Facebook, all while strolling along, looking up instead of down at a phone (or a map… remember those?!).

The fervor and excitement this device is creating has endless potential. I think a product like this will influence how retailers reach out to shoppers.  For example, in the future, the customer won’t be sitting at home, miles away from a store location…they will be right outside your door searching for products on their sleek Mission-Impossible-sunglasses.  As a result of this change, more focused local or location-based advertising will begin to replace the need for expansive mass media campaigns.

The shift to more personalized advertising is already taking place with the rapid popularization of the smartphone.  According to our Consumer Pulse report: How Smartphones are Changing the Retail Shopping Experience, released last year, over half of all smartphone owners use their device when shopping in a retail store. Currently, retailers are wary of these customers as “show roomers” who will go in store to browse, but who make their purchases online to find a better price. 

Google GogglesInstead of worrying, retailers need to take action and realize that these tech advancements in shopping can be used to their advantage to create a personalized shopping experience.  Leveraging data already collected from loyalty programs or Point of Sale can provide shoppers with a compelling reason to make their purchases in a retail store, creating and providing a seamless and elevated experience for the buyer.  The resources to make this experience a reality are available; retailers have the data, it is just a matter of learning how to use it effectively.

Someday, when we are all like Tom Cruise and wearing spy-like glasses, advertising will need to be personalized and relevant to the individual.  Such a marketing technique will draw people in, breaking through the mass noise and bombardment of content available all around you.  No longer will accurate advertising and recommendation-engine results be relegated to online sites alone—it will be a part of your everyday life, maybe even programmed into your sunglasses.

What do you think?  Will mobile technology transform the retail shopping experience?

Posted by Kirsten Rasmuson, Kirsten is a Senior Project Manager on CMB’s Retail practice. She’s looking forward to welcoming our new robot overlords.

Topics: technology research, big data, mobile, advertising, retail research